Hospitality Trends from BDNYKristin Crane
This month at BDNY in New York City, we introduced the hospitality community to Design Pool. This was our last big event of 2022, and it felt great to be back in New York, talking with old friends and colleagues and meeting new people. As we always do at the shows, we also took time for trend research. We walked the show and attended panel discussions to see what hospitality trends were happening.
We narrowed down what we saw into five main hospitality trends.
Everyone is working natural elements into their design as well as considering the impact their designs have on nature. Biophilic pieces are still strong, with designers using live greenery and plants indoors and out. Additionally, nature extended into the beautiful warm neutrals and nature-inspired greens, blues, and browns we saw throughout the show. Manufacturers also focused on how their products were made, with what materials, and where they go at the end of their life cycle.
The pandemic has shown us that not all business meetings need to happen face-to-face. While that may be good news for some businesses hoping to cut costs, it means lost revenue for hotels and restaurants. Hotels are now in a position where they’re not only competing with each other but also with the home experience. Similar to how companies are trying to make their offices “commute-worthy” to lure back workers, hotels want to make their spaces “expense account-worthy” even when a Zoom meeting will do.
Their answer is to focus on designing full experiences, not just buildings with rooms to sleep. They want to curate an experience for a particular audience that extends beyond the purpose of their trip. The goal is to make a place worth visiting, not just one to call into.
Wellness & Comfort
Wellness is a huge trend, and not just in the spas. Designers are looking to incorporate wellness into the entire design of a hotel. Essentially, they want people to feel better at their hotel than they did before they arrived. A critical element needed for that to happen is sleep. Sleep is an integral part of any hotel design. Attention to noise, bedding, temperature control, and the physical bed is crucial to guaranteeing a good night’s sleep. No matter how beautiful or trendy the space is, if people do not get a good night’s sleep, they won’t be likely to return.
The idea of wellness extends beyond just the guests. Hotel designers are also considering the wellness of the staff. An exceptional hotel staff is essential to the experience of a guest. When staff feels like they are working in a safe and healthy environment, they do their job exceptionally.
For years now, travelers have been seeking authentic experiences when they travel. They want to connect to a place and its community. Many designers are looking for ways to give hotels as authentic a feel as a neighborhood Airbnb. One way they do this is by collaborating with the community in new ways, such as by sourcing artwork from local artists to add unique elements to a space.
They also know that happy travelers are their best advertisers. With this in mind, designers want to add a space specifically with the intention of it influencers and everyday social media users alike sharing their experiences. This doesn’t mean there are hashtags everywhere, but elements such as a striking accent wall or location-specific art are perfect for a selfie.
Technology has become an integral part of any hotel design. During the pandemic, hotels quickly adapted more ways to use technology for services, such as contactless check-in and digital room keys. When looking for new technology to incorporate, designers are looking toward human behavior and, in some cases, are working with scientists in this specialty at the beginning of their creative process. They believe human behavior should lead to the adaptation of technology, not the other way around. For technology to be used and enjoyed, it needs to feel intuitive to a wide range of users, regardless of their age, language, or device.
Looking at these five hospitality trends, a common thread runs through all of them: community. As people travel for work and pleasure, they want to reconnect with nature, new places, and each other. Hotels that facilitate this activity without compromising the privacy and safety of their guests will find themselves a haven for business and leisure travelers alike.